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2014 European Solar Decathlon: The results are in


July 14, 2014

The Rhome for denCity project by Team Rhome won the competition with a prototype apartment for a four-story housing complex (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

The Rhome for denCity project by Team Rhome won the competition with a prototype apartment for a four-story housing complex (Photo: Paul Ridden/Gizmag)

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The results are finally in for this year's European Solar Decathlon competition. The Rhome for denCity project, by Italy's Team Rhome, has been declared the overall competition winner, while second and third places go to Philéas by France's Atlantic Challenge, and Prêt-à-Loger by Dutch team TU Delft, respectively. Gizmag was in Paris over the weekend to take a closer look at the prototype sustainable houses.

The winning spot was closely-fought and little separated the top three, points-wise. Rhome for denCity scored a total of 840.63 points out of a maximum 1,000, just edging out Philéas, which grabbed 839.75 points. Third-place Prêt-à-Loger, meanwhile, lagged slightly further behind with 837.87 points.

1st Place overall: Rhome for denCity

As we previously reported, the Rhome for denCity project by Team Rhome consists of a prototype top floor apartment that's part of a four-story housing complex destined for the Tor Fiscale district in Rome.

The European Solar Decathlon judges were clearly impressed with its use of adjustable solar panels, passive ventilation, and expandable design, and it serves as a potential blueprint for future sustainable urban housing projects of a similar nature.

2nd Place overall: Philéas

Philéas, by France's Atlantic Challenge, calls for the renovation of an abandoned building in Nantes, West France, called Cap 44. The building has some historical importance as one of the world's first reinforced concrete buildings, and dates back to 1895.

The team's proposal features a specially-designed wooden frame to adorn the Cap 44 building and support a number of greenhouses, which will allow food to be grown. In addition, several "breaches" are to be installed in the building's concrete facade in order to allow natural daylight to permeate the interior, and prefabricated 3D-printed wooden modules shall be used separate the interior into new spaces.

3rd Place overall: Prêt-à-Loger

Rather than producing a whole new house, Netherlands-based TU Delft's Prêt-à-Loger goes one better with a proposal to retrofit existing Dutch row houses with a "skin" that increases energy efficiency. The team estimates that it would be suitable for up to 1.4 million existing Dutch homes.

The skin features solar panels and a water circulation system that purifies waste water produced by the occupants. It also adds insulation and increases the energy performance of the home. Charging points are integrated to allow electric cars to charge, and the skin also has the additional benefit of not being too invasive to install – compared to a typical energy-efficient renovation, anyway.

Category Awards

In addition to the overall winner and runners-up, The European Solar Decathlon also featured six category awards winners in total:

  • Sustainability and Communications: Prêt-à-Loger, by the Netherlands' TU Delft
  • Architecture: Ressò, by Spain's Team Ressò
  • Urban Design, Transportation and Affordability: Orchid, by Taiwan's Team Unicode
  • Energy Efficiency: Philéas, by France's Atlantic Challenge
  • Engineering and Construction: Casa, by Team Mexico
  • People's Choice Award: Tropika House, by Costa Rica's TEC Team

Head to the gallery for a closer look at the overall winner, the runners-up, and each of the category awards winners in full.

Source: Solar Decathlon

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Just ghastly!

Island Architect

Ok, I realize the emphasis is on energy efficiency but can't they design a better looking "form" to follow the function? These are all eye sores. The "best" of what must be the worst is Tropica House. It is barely acceptable.

Don Duncan

They need to have a limit on costs, say $30k in materials.

The cost of housing is absurd these days. The price of a lot on which to place a home is also wildly off base. We can create much less expensive housing but we will have a heck of a time trying to get the cost of the lot down to a sane limit. In my lifetime there have been men who walked home from work and purchased one or two planks each workday and built their homes as they went. The cost of a home was maybe $150. and the land it sat on might be even less than that $150.. In the Great Depression in Ft. Lauderdale some men picked tin cans in the garbage dump and sold the cans to the strawberry farmers who used them to start new strawberry bushes. Earning about one dollar a day these men were actually able to build their own homes and raise families. Before the crash men worked in the local sawmill for eight cents an hour. As the area is rather affluent that really tells us all something about inflation. Jim Sadler
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